Posted on October 21, 2020 at 10:00 AM by Sadye Scott-Hainchek

If you’re sensitive to the grotesque, this post may not be for you — and this book is definitely not for you.

Dark Archives is written by Megan Rosenbloom, a rare-books specialist and librarian at UCLA, and while its approach is sensitive and empathetically curious, not prurient, there’s no getting around the subject matter.

(Hopefully the squeamish have navigated away while we stall … )

The book is about books bound in human skin, a practice formally known as anthropodermic bibliopegy, and often associated with monstrous humans.

As James Hamblin, reviewing the book for the New York Times, discovers, that isn’t exactly the case.

While the sample size isn’t huge — Rosenbloom and her team have so far identified fifty human-skin books worldwide — it seems that doctors were more likely to make these books than, say, Nazis were.

You can read more about some of the examples and what Rosenbloom thinks ought to be done with the surviving books in the NY Times.

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Categories: Today in Books

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